Do You Need a Police Report to File a Personal Injury Claim in New York?

When you are injured in an accident, emergency services are often called.  This often means a police officer will respond and draw up a police report – especially in cases of car accidents or when you are the victim of a crime.  In many cases, these police reports can be helpful for an injury lawsuit, but are they necessary?

A police report can only be used as evidence in a personal injury claim in limited situations.  However, they can still provide good information when building a case, and insurance companies might require these reports.  So, while police reports are not always absolutely required to file an injury claim, their usefulness means you should always try to get one when you can.

For help with an injury case in New York, call The Carrion Law Firm’s New York personal injury attorneys today at (718) 841-0083 for a free case review with our Brooklyn attorney for injuries at hotels.

Do You Need a Police Report for a Car Accident Injury Claim in New York?

Any car accident that results in injury needs to be reported to the police in New York.  This means that in nearly all car accident claims, there will be a police report that you can use.  While you might not absolutely need this police report, it can help provide essential information, so it is always worth getting.

Most police departments in New York allow people to get a copy of a police report online through a web portal on their own website or through sites like buycrash.lexisnexisrisk.com.  This is an independent third-party website that hosts police reports for local PDs throughout the country, including in New York.  Reports are also usually available at the police department or through the New York DMV.

A police report for a car accident contains essential information that can help you and your New York car accident lawyers build your case.  This includes information about

  • Who was involved in the crash
  • What positions the vehicles were in
  • What specific events led up to the accident
  • Injuries
  • Lighting conditions
  • Weather conditions, and more.

While you can gather a lot of this information yourself at the scene of the accident, it might be more important that you get treatment at the hospital.  If you missed collecting this information because your injuries were too severe, getting a police report can help fill in some gaps in information for you.

Additionally, your insurance company or your NYC car accident attorney might request a copy of the police report, so you should always get a copy.

Police Reports for Injury Claims After Being a Crime Victim in New York

Victims of crimes can – and should – call the police and press charges.  Technically though, criminal charges are brought by the government, not the victim, with the core goal of punishing the defendant.  Your injuries and damages might be paid in part by restitution ordered as part of the criminal case, but this might not be enough.  You can also file a separate civil lawsuit against the defendant, and the police report can be helpful for your case.

Police reports filed for criminal cases usually lay out all of the facts that the police officer found.  This would include who was involved in the incident (i.e., you and the defendant, plus any co-defendants, other victims, or witnesses).  It will also lay out the process and timeline of what events occurred:

  • When the defendant started the encounter
  • What they did to cause you injuries
  • Any planning or preparation and
  • The aftermath of the injuries.

There may also be other police documents and files that you may or may not have access to.

Getting the police report can, once again, help supply you with information to build your case.  However, it may not be used as evidence in a trial except in specific circumstances.  In most cases, the testimony of the police officer, witnesses, doctors, and other people related to the case will provide better evidence than the words in a police report.  So, once again, these reports are not necessary for an injury case, but they can certainly help.

Can You Get a Police Report for Other Accidents in New York?

Other types of accidents – such as slip and falls, burn injuries, medical malpractice injuries, and defective product injuries – might not have police reports associated with them.  For most injuries and accidents, your priority will be to get medical treatment, whether by driving yourself to the hospital, taking an ambulance, or even scheduling an appointment with your doctor a few days later.  In most of these cases, the police are never notified and cannot make a report.

Police will usually create some kind of accident report if they are summoned to the scene of an accident.  So, for example, if you called an ambulance for help after a slip and fall and the police also responded, they may have created an accident report you can access and use in your injury case.  In these cases, you can certainly use the report to help you build your case, but it may not contain as much comprehensive information as a crash report or a criminal police report.

In other cases where there was no police response and there was no criminal activity or car accident, a police report simply won’t exist.  However, that doesn’t stop you from filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit for your injuries.  Talk to a Brooklyn personal injury attorney about what other evidence you can use to prove your case, such as any of the following:

  • Photos of the injuries
  • Medical records
  • Witness testimony
  • Your own testimony
  • Financial records
  • Defective devices
  • Photos/video of the accident scene
  • Expert testimony

Other institutions and companies might also create their own accident reports.  This is common for injuries that take place at a store or another business or when injuries happen at work.  Talk to a Long Island personal injury lawyer about getting copies of these records.

Call For a Free Case Review on Your Injury Case

Call The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083 to set up a free case review.  Our Queens personal injury lawyers can help you with your injury case even if there is no police report.